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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Ethernet/LocalTalk, MP3 To WAV, & Cheap Stock Trades
December 8th, 2000

Greetings, everyone. I trust everyone's ready to work today? Good. We've got a lot on our plate. Today we discuss sharing a LocalTalk printer between two Ethernet-based Macs, converting MP3's to WAVs, resizing the launcher, and buying Apple's stock! Yes, folks, we're chock-full of rip-roarin' fun today. Hang on to your seats and read like there's no tomorrow!

Richard Campbell writes, "I've been told that I can share a printer with my wife's computer over a shared Ethernet hub (it's a 5 port hub with each computer and a cable modem plugged into it). My Hewlett Packard 5MP does not have an Ethernet port but I've been told that you can make localtalk ride over the top of the Ethernet network rather than run PhoneNet connectors between the two machines. Is this possible?"

Yes, sir, it is! And we even have our fruity friends in Cupertino to thank for it (that's Apple for all of you just getting here). Apple has a little utility called LocalTalk Bridge that allows your computer to create a two-way link between its Ethernet port and its LocalTalk port, allowing printers and other such non-Ethernettable devices (like older Macs, even) see devices on your Ethernet network, and vice versa. This software used to cost YOU money, but now it's free, free, free! Just download it, install in your System Folder, restart, and you're good to go.

Shaun Bugyra writes, "I'm trying to locate an MP3 to WAV converter for Macs. Any idea where I can find one that I can download?"

Yeah, I think we can find one for you... how about two? The first one I'll recommend is SoundApp. This little freeware gem is definitely worth adding to your Mac's toolbox. It can play just about any type of sound, and can convert them to a variety of formats. It can definitely take your MP3's and convert them to WAV's (or AIFF's or many other formats). However, it cannot convert BACK to MP3. For this reason, I feel it's worth mentioning SoundJam here. SoundJam can convert your MP3's to WAV's as well, but it can also convert things back to MP3. It, however, is not freeware. There is a free version of SoundJam, but it will only convert your files for 14 days before requiring you to upgrade to the full version (for which you must pay).

Anthony Davis writes, "I'm having trouble resizing my launcher. I got rid of Launcher preferences, restarted the G3, and the Launcher is still way too long. Seems like there should be an Apple / Option key involved in the solution somewhere. Any ideas?"

I think we can help you with this, and I think you can do it with just your mouse. There is a little box in the lower-right hand corner that you can use to resize the page. I have included a screenshot here to show you:

Just click on the little box there in the lower-right hand corner and drag the window to the size of your liking. There is a minimum size it needs to be, but other than that you should be able to tidy it up quite nicely.

Neal Bernstien writes, "I would like to buy Apple stock for long term investing. Where can I find the cheapest place to buy & sell?"

Um... ok. I guess this is technically a Mac-related question, so lets go for it. :-)

Personally, I use E*Trade. They are very reliable, they offer some great services and benefits, but they are not the cheapest. For the cheapest, I hear that AmeriTrade and SureTrade are the places to look, so I'll direct you there.

That's it for today folks! Feel free to send your questions to me at [email protected], or ask in the forums. I'll see you in two weeks!

PS. Have a Nice Day.

is President and CEO of The Mac Observer, Inc. He has worked in the computer industry as a consultant, trainer, network engineer, webmaster, and a programmer for most of the last 10 years. During that time he has worked on the Mac, all the various Windows flavors, Be, a few brands of Unix, and it is rumored he once saw an OS/2 machine in action. Before that he ran some of the earliest Bulletin Board systems, but most of the charges have since been dropped, and not even the FBI requests that he check in more than twice a year.

Ask Dave is here to answer all the Mac questions you have. Networking, system conflicts, hardware, you ask it, he can answer it. He is the person from whom all Mac knowledge flows....

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